Although we have permission to share this story, we have
changed the name of the patient and her husband. Mrs. Smith has since passed
Mary Smith wanted to spend her remaining days
When, Mrs. Smith, 87, was given a diagnosis of terminal
cancer, her physician recommended the services of HomeCare & Hospice.
“My doctor said I had about six months to live and there
were two choices. I could go into a nursing home or have hospice come in. She
said hospice would keep me at home. I said, ‘That’s what I want – I want to
stay right here,’” recalled the lifelong Wellsville resident.
The Hospice program provides skilled nursing care, social
work, spiritual care, hospice aides and trained volunteers, as well as pain and
symptom control and medical supplies related to terminal illness. The agency
focuses on quality of life. Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurances, and
public support, such as the United Way, cover the cost.
A year after her diagnosis, Mrs. Smith has good days and bad
days, but is still living independently in her senior housing complex. She
likes having the choice of staying in bed in the morning or going downstairs to
chat with the neighbors.
“They meet every morning at 9 a.m. for coffee. If I don’t
show up, my neighbor will come and bring me a cup and check on me to make sure
I’m all right, but I don’t have anyone telling me when I have to get up or when
to go bed,” she added.
Mrs. Smith does as much for herself as she can. She still
gets around with a walker or power chair and, while she receives Meals on
Wheels, does a little cooking now and then. She observes, though, that she is
“I do a little bit and I get tired,” she said.
She spent much of her life caring for her family. She and
her late husband, John, raised five children. She had to adjust to letting
other people help care for her.
A Hospice Aide comes three days a week and helps with bathing,
light housekeeping and laundry.
“She’s a big help and I really appreciate her,” said Mrs.
Smith. “At first I didn’t want anyone to help shower me, but then I got her and
I really felt comfortable with her. She’s so good to me, so kind.”
Mrs. Smith also receives regular visits from a registered
“She asks me how I feel and takes my blood pressure. We talk
about medication and what my pain is like. We like to chat about our friends
and talk about everything,” she said, adding that she also enjoys the
companionship of a hospice volunteer.
Staying at home with care and support from HomeCare &
Hospice allows Mrs. Smith to have her family in for visits.
“I have four daughters and one son. My daughters all like to
come together and they bring some of their children. We have a lot of fun,” she
She credits her faith and a positive attitude for keeping
“There are days when think I can’t do it anymore and then
there are days when I feel better. You
can’t sit around wondering when you’re going to die – you’ll make yourself
miserable. I don’t think it will make anyone feel any better.
My faith in God
is the biggest thing in my whole life. When you have that you can be cheerful,”
said Mrs. Smith.
She added, “I’m glad I can be at home. I’m glad I have
hospice. They all care so much.”
HomeCare & Hospice, a non-profit United Way member
agency, provides specialized medical care and social/emotional support for
patients and families coping with terminal illness in Cattaraugus, Allegany,
Wyoming and Genesee counties. The
institution is an equal opportunity provider, and employer.